I’ve been examining the dream of a social worker. In his dream he threw a homeless man down some stairs. He was appalled at his own behavior because he has devoted his professional life to helping those in need. His dream was full of symbols—including the concept of homelessness itself. You can read it in my most recent posts.
Themes that emerged
As lengthy as the dream was, there were specific themes that were clearly stated. There was the idea of “obstructing” his own desire to receive “nourishment” at a “higher level.” And there was the sense of having overreacted by “gravely injuring” a part of his own “belligerent” self.
It was time to have a chat with him to see what it meant to him.
Conversation with the dreamer
Dreamer: It’s amazing how the whole sense of the dream changes when you understand that every character in your dream is you. Listening to you read it back to me actually caused the hair to stand up on my arms… The first thing that comes to mind about my dream is the idea of being obstructionist with my own self. When I was trying to understand this dream before our session, that idea never occurred to me. But now that I understand that concept, it makes sense.
David: How so?
Dreamer: Well, here’s what’s going on in my life. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately—mostly spiritual stuff. I’m really drawn to it, and I have a hard time putting those books down. I can accept some of the principles without reservation. But I have to say, there are others that are pretty far out in left field. Just about all the books recommend some form of meditation. And that’s when I start feeling weird. I sit down for a quiet session, and I suddenly start feeling really stupid. That’s how I get in my own way.
David: Do you think that’s unusual for someone who is just starting out and learning?
Dreamer: Probably not.
David: If this dream were mine, I’d think that I was being pretty hard on myself: throwing the obstructionist part of me down the stairs in a burst of overreaction. After all, don’t forget, the obstructionist part of me is already “homeless.”
Dreamer: (Laughing) Amazing! You know, my dad was really strict, and I’m afraid I’ve inherited all of his obsessive traits. I have very little patience with myself if I do something I think is counterproductive.
David: What do you think the dream is trying to tell you about that?
Dreamer: The whole overreaction part of it seems like a warning. I think it’s telling me to calm down.
David: I suspect that’s a pretty good guess. You know, it can take years—decades even—to learn to meditate. If you beat yourself up every time you make a mistake or have a bad session, you’re going to be pretty well pummeled before long.
Dreamer: (Laughs again.) I guess you’re right.
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